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UC Merced adds water polo for men and women and outdoor courts for men and women who intercollegiate sports from the university from the academic year 2022-23.

This announcement gives UC Merced Athletics 12 sponsored university sports: six men’s teams and six women’s teams.

“We are excited to expand our programs as the campus continues to grow,” said Recreation & amp; Athletics David Dunham said. “Water Polo has a rich history in the Central Valley and will be a great addition to our campus.”

UC Merced last added university programs in 2013-14 with the introduction of men’s soccer and men’s volleyball. Since then, UC Merced Athletics has undergone significant growth with new facilities such as Bobcat Field and Aquatics Center.

Water polo, which will be raised from a UC Mercedes sports club team and is one of the fastest growing sports in America, will call the Aquatics Center home and compete as part of the Collegiate Water Polo Association. Water polo for men will play in the autumn, while the water polo team for women will start the competition in the spring.

Water polo thrives in California, giving UC Mercedes regional elite competition. A more concrete plan to determine UC Mercedes’ opponents in the first year will be released later this summer. A national search for Bobcat’s first water polo head coach for men and women begins immediately.

Head cross-country coach Vicente Velarde will lead the outdoor track program. Velarde has led his men’s and women’s cross-country teams to second place in the California Pacific Conference each of the past two years and has qualified 13 individuals for the NAIA National Championships.

The track program aims to focus on the distance track at the start while competing as a member of Cal Pac in NAIA. The first Cal Pac Track & amp; The field championship was held in April. Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University won both the men’s and women’s team titles.

“I look forward to working with coach Velarde as he builds our track program,” said Dunham. “There is great synergy between cross-country skiing and track. We have had success in our cross-country program for many years and are looking to build on the solid cross-country foundation while building a competitive trail program. “

“We could not have been more excited or grateful for the addition of tracks,” Velarde said. “I was pleasantly surprised that we added it for the coming year, but it has been something made and I have wanted for a while now. This allows us to have more measurable goals in the spring semester, as we previously would usually focus on areas “We could cultivate for cross-country skiing. It also opens up the possibility of competing for a Cal Pac championship and qualifying for the national meeting.”

This spring, Jonathan Chavez went on to meet the A-standard qualifying time for 5,000 meters, Velarde said.

“His time of 14:38 ended with winning the national meet as well. So when I see our runners achieve such things and now we know that there are opportunities for them to become Americans or have these experiences to participate in the national championships, I look forward to seeing them enjoy the rewards of their hard work. ” he said. “More than anything else, I’m excited to lead this program and lay a foundation that we can be proud of in our first season.”

The track season starts in the spring of 2023.

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